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AIWC wants you to work out for wildlife

This August, the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) is hoping you’ll get a sweat on for a good cause – the Madden animal hospital is holding Work Out For Wildlife (WOW), its first-ever fitness-related fundraiser, throughout the month.

According to AIWC Executive Director Holly Lillie, WOW encourages registered participants to reach their fitness-related goals while raising money for the organization.

“Whether you’re looking to run x kilometres every day, to attend three fitness classes per week, to cycle x amount or to run 50 kilometres, we’re encouraging people to challenge themselves for a good cause and collect pledges to support wildlife in need,” Lillie said.

Goals are tracked using the Strava app, according to Lillie, which will also allow for connection and interaction among participants.

According to Lillie, the month-long fundraiser aims to raise $30,000 to support AIWC in its efforts to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned and injured animals.

With increasing demand for its services every year, she added, AIWC staff tries to be creative when it comes to fundraising initiatives.

“Every year, we’re looking at our fundraising calendar and trying to think of new ways of raising funds for the organization, while also reaching new and different audiences,” she said. “It’s great to be a wildlife lover or animal lover, but this is not necessarily a requirement to take part in this event.”

If the satisfaction of reaching your athletic goals isn’t motivation enough on its own, Lillie said participants will also receive prizes when they’ve reached certain milestones in their fundraising – an AIWC tote bag when they’ve raised $150, and an AIWC T-shirt and tote bag when they’ve raised $300.

The milestones go up to $5,000, according to Lillie, which rewards dedicated participants with an invitation to attend the release of a rehabilitated animal into the wild.

The top three pledge-earners will also earn prizes – the top prize is an original Lady Rufus Hummingbird painting by Alberta artist Crystal Driedger, second prize is two tickets to the Calgary Stampeders’ Labour Day Classic game Sept. 2 and third prize is a $200 gift certificate to Mountain Equipment Co-Op.

Random prize draws will take place every Tuesday and Thursday throughout August, according to Lillie, adding prizes may include anything from a family show pass to The Storybook Theatre, a month-long membership to a yoga studio, two adult lift tickets for Nakiska Ski Resort or a family pack of four tickets to the Calgary Zoo.

“We have lots of great prizes available,” she said.

According to Lillie, this year has already been incredibly busy for AIWC. The wildlife hospital has treated nearly 900 animals so far in 2019 – which she noted is a 27 per cent increase compared to 2018 – and currently has more than 100 animals in care.

“We’ll be in our peak busy season until the end of August, and then we’ll continue to be busy in the fall, but not at the extreme heights of July and August,” she said.

Registration for WOW costs $35 and the deadline to sign up is Aug. 15. As of July 18, according to Lillie, 19 participants have already joined.

Registration can be completed online at

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